Steinhoff chairperson Heather Sonn resigns

Heather claimed that she was unaware of the need to disclose a transaction with Geros.

Steinhoff has announced the resignation of its chairperson Heather Sonn

In a statement, Heather said that Gamiro Ventures, a company in which she is a shareholder, had unwittingly completed a transaction with Geros Financial Services that may have been associated with and indirectly funded by Steinhoff.

In December 2017, she requested that this transaction be placed on the list for investigation by PwC when a name in the shareholding structure of Geros was recognised as a name that also appeared in the Viceroy Report. “Unfortunately, it has taken over two years to get a conclusion as to the nature of the relationship between Steinhoff and Geros, but there were multiple priorities for the company at the time.” 

She added that, based on what is now known to her, the transaction would have required certain disclosures which she would have made had she been aware thereof. 

Heather was appointed as Steinhoff’s acting chairperson in mid-December 2017 following the resignation of Christo Wiese. Her position was made permanent in 2018. She took up the role barely a week after Steinhoff’s CEO at the time, Markus Jooste, abruptly resigned. 

"It is important to note that Ms Sonn has in no way been found to have participated in the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff," said Steinhoff’s vice-chair of the supervisory board Peter Wakkie.